Thursday, May 6, 2010

SP 560 Rocket Pencil Case (Unknown / 1950s / U.S. / 9.5 inches)

Science fiction films in the 1950s relied on many tried and true tropes, but few thrill me today like the trusty rocket. Cigar-shaped, silver, sleek, it was a vehicle to adventure in such classic flicks as Destination Moon, Rocketship X-M, When World's Collide, and The Angry Red Planet. It's ubiquity was such that today it stands as an instantly recognizable icon of vintage science fiction.

While many toy rockets were produced in the Fifties and Sixties, few of them really captured the simple elegance of their cinematic counterparts. So you can imagine my thrill when I stumbled on this little number one evening while surfing eBay.

Made of light plastic and with a thin coating of chrome, the SP 560 looks exactly like a model from one of those old movies. It's designed to hold pencils inside the hollow body, and there's a pencil sharpener in the base. I can just imagine how much fun I'd have carrying this thing to school every day. I'm pretty sure I'd dump the pencils in my desk right away so that I could play with the rocket during recess.

I love the minimal details, like the "windows" running down the side.

Old-school pencil sharpener!

Unfortunately, I have no idea who produced this beauty, when it came out, or how common or rare it might really be. I've never seen one before, but I didn't have to pay very much for it. Some of the chrome is worn and thinning, and there are a few scratches here and there, but generally, it's in nice shape -- if it were rare, I'd have expected it to sell for a lot. So who knows?

Chromed plastic was relatively new in the 1950s, and it often became spotted and worn with time.

If anyone digs up any info, please post it in the comments or send me an email!


  1. Oh wow, sweet!

    You know, once in a while we find good deals on eBay, so perhaps it usually sells for more?

    Since I've been collecting a few vintage space goodies I've been scanning the vintage space and rocket categories on eBay regularly so if I find any more info on this, I'll pass it along. But I bet you get more info a lot sooner from your followers. =)

    Those mechanical rocket banks are soooo cool. Do you have any of those? Every time I see one in good shape come up for auction I watch in hopes no one else will bid ha ha ha.

    Oh and I saw one of those "Whistle" cups like you blogged about come up for auction last week. That was a hard one to pass by!

  2. The mechanical space banks are pretty awesome. I don't own any myself, but I've met a guy who has a whole bunch of them -- perhaps the best collection of them I've ever seen. I'm going to see if he'll let me post some pictures of his collection, or if he'd like to do a guest blog entry or something.

    I saw that whistle cup, too. I almost bid on it, figuring it might make a nice gift for someone, but kind of forgot about it...

  3. Yes yes! Please show us your friends mechanical space bank collection! I bet he has a lot more designs than I've ever seen.

    I talked myself out of that super cool whistle cup for something larger and cheaper... The Space Mysteries map lol... Darn guilt trip.


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